Sometimes, things can be different from what we see on the surface. There are company owners who think that their online presence is doing great because they think their local sites are ranking well. They might have other sites they want to rank higher too, to expand their business further. It seems like there won’t be any problem making sure those sites will be ranked right. What they don’t know is that there is a lurking problem underneath the surface.
For instance, when the company provides repair, cleaning services, moving services and the like in many locations, they have Google My Business listings for each location. Lo, and behold – the locations listed are not commercial offices but residential addresses of the people who work for them in such locations.
The company owners might think that there’s ‘obviously’ nothing wrong with this, but unfortunately, it’s against Google’s terms. A lot of company owners make this kind of mistake, and if you’re a company owner or a developer, you should know better. You need to find out what’s wrong and make sure you don’t do it on your listings for local SEO’s sake.
If you’ve done everything wrong so far, you might have to break down all that you’ve built and done for local SEO and start all over again. If the mistakes you’ve applied to the listings are minimal, you can still patch it up. You just need to find out which practices are wrong, so you can pull it off your listing and try to salvage your online reputation.
4 Local SEO Mistakes You Might Be Doing
- Using a Wrong Address in Your ListingsThere are business owners who make the mistake of adding incorrect addresses on their listings, sometimes on purpose, with the intention to gather customers in that area. They would argue that they have a virtual office there, or an employee’s house there anyway, and maybe even a PO box address. The problem is that Google requires listings to be created in the actual location of a business and it refuses to accept PO Boxes. If Google detects that you failed to comply to this rule, you’re in trouble Your listing could be removed, and your efforts will all be in vain. The thing is, you have many enemies here. There’s Google robots who can detect this issue, and your competitors can report you too. Consumers who feel that they have been misled, leading to their inconvenience could report you to Google too. Play it safe. If you already have the problem, the best way to get out of it is to self-report it to Google. Google will not punish you for it. It will only remove the ineligible ones and leave the eligible listings.
- Using The Same Phone NumbersSome business owners who have different businesses tend to make this mistake. For instance, if they manage more than just one business, they won’t want to pay an extra fee for a different phone line for the other businesses. There could be different reasons for this. The most common one is: there is one person who handles the calls for all the businesses despite the business having a separate listing. Obviously, it’s much easier to have a single phone number for easy management.However, this is an issue because Google wants one phone number for each business location and website. It urges business owners to use local phone numbers instead of a call center type of number. Google cannot accept multiple businesses sharing one phone number because it’s downright confusing. There’s even a possibility that Google will merge your listings that share the same phone number. Verifying the business can also be a pain for Google because they usually use phone numbers as a way to verify a business listing. It’s also confusing for your business and most of all, your customers. They could be calling your phone number wanting to reach Susan’s Cupcakes, but the phone is answered by Peter’s Plumbing Services. Can there be anything more confusing than that? Make sure each of your listing has its own unique number.
- Keyword stuffing on Google My BusinessThere are also quite a lot of business owners who make sure that keywords are present all throughout their Google My Business listings, especially on the name. Some people do this to make sure that their customers can find them on a local scale. Optimization for Google My Business and general SEO is actually quite different so there is an issue here. It’s another violation of the guidelines. You should only use the real name of your business, like the one that everyone can see on the sign outside your store and on your website. If you add information that is not part of your business name on your GMB name, your listing could be suspended of removed. You don’t have to worry about consumers not finding your business. These days Google’s ability to recommend businesses within one’s proximity is becoming well-developed, so to play it safe, don’t overstuff your Google my Business name with keywords.
- Creating Too Many SitesBusinesses that offer different services or covers different locations sometimes make different websites for each service or location. The content is more or less copies among the websites and some sites stay empty because of lack of management. They do this however, in an attempt to cover all of their services. This choice is actually impractical. When you have twelve domains for a local business is never a good idea. When will you have the time to manage all of those domains individually? It’s already challenging enough to manage one! Furthermore, if you have different sites for your different business but you share a single address for all of them, it would be so confusing for your customers. And of course, doing this also violates Google’s guidelines. If you are one of the business owners who have made this choice and your multiple domains are currently ongoing, you should consolidate your domains. Choose the best domain and get the other old pages to redirect to the main one. This usually increases traffic but is best done by an expert because it can be tedious and complicated.